ERIC Number: ED331048
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Reliable and Valid Stories?--Turning Ethnographic Data into Narratives.
Ethnographic research projects have surged in recent years and are well represented in Research in the Teaching of English (RTE) bibliographies. However, methods texts were written for social scientists and anthropologists, not for writing researchers. Methods texts and rhetoric programs' general grounding in positivistic research imply that collected data is representative, reliable, and whole. It is hard to see that "writing it down" is interpretive; that all research relies on tropes, researcher personas, and persuasions; and that all research methods and research reports are rhetorical. Moving from the hard data of interview transcripts to the "warm" shaped descriptions, it is impossible not to see the subjective nature of the enterprise. "Writing it up" proves to be more problematic than "writing it down," since "writing up" an ethnographic narrative includes creating a believable and interesting authorial identity. To become a convincing "I" is a primary task of all writing research ethnographers, yet the "I" of the dissertation is rarely convincing. Writing researchers, then, have yet to write the necessary research meta-narratives--the discussions of how ethnographic research actually gets completed and accepted. These would help guide the new graduate program ethnographer. Tales about tales already abound in anthropological ethnography and need to be encouraged in writing research. Reliable and valid stories are possible and needed, as well as stories of writing it down, writing it up, telling where authors went and what was thought about all along the way. (Seventeen references are attached.) (TD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).